Anna Friel in the series premiere of Monarch airing Sunday, Sept. 11, immediately following the FOX NFL doubleheader (8:00-9:00 PM ET, and simultaneously to all time zones). It then makes its time period premiere Tuesday, Sept. 20
Photo by FOX via Getty Images

British Actress Anna Friel Plays the Fiercely Determined Nicky Roman on 'Monarch'


The new country music drama Monarch has been the talk of the town this year and created some major buzz among country fans. The new series premieres on FOX on Sept. 11, following the story of a family of country music royalty based in Austin, Texas. Susan Sarandon and Trace Adkins lead the series as the matriarch and patriarch of the Roman family, but actress Anna Friel looks like she might steal the show as their eldest daughter, Nicky. Friel is no stranger to the world of television, best known for starring in hits like Pushing Daisies and the British series Marcella. 

Monarch looks like it will give Friel a new chance to shine, not only as an actress, but as a singer. So far we've heard her perform one new song for the upcoming series and we know there are plenty more in the works for the remainder of the season. So who exactly is Anna Friel? Here's everything you need to know about the talented actress.

Who is Anna Friel?

Anna Friel attends Fat Tony's autobiography "I Don't Take Requests" pre-launch party at Isabel Mayfair on July 19, 2021 in London, England

Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for MCH STUDIO

You probably couldn't tell from the Monarch trailer, but Anna Friel is actually British. She's one of a handful of folks from across the pond starring in the new series, expertly rocking a southern accent on set. Similar to her character, she actually has some musical roots in her family as well. Her father is Desi Friel, a former Irish folk guitarist. Friel grew up in Manchester and began training as an actress at Oldham Theatre Workshop, making her official TV debut at the young age of 13.


Really the first major role that endeared Friel to audiences was on the British soap opera Brookside. She played the role of Beth Jordache for two years in the early '90s and made TV history for her role in the very first lesbian kiss on British daytime television. The role earned Friel a National Television Award in 1995 and created some buzz around her career, helping her land roles in shows and films like Tales from the Crypt, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Rogue Trader. She even made her Broadway debut in Patrick Marber's Closer. 

In addition to further appearances on Broadway and the West End, Friel has appeared in a slew of high-budget films over the years, including Timeline with Gerard Butler, Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell and Limitless with Bradley Cooper. Her performance as Charlotte "Chuck" Charles in Pushing Daisies landed Friel a Golden Globe nomination, though, after two seasons, she spent some time focusing on her film career. After additional TV roles in The Girlfriend Experience, American Odyssey, and several miniseries, she's back as a series regular on Monarch opposite a seriously impressive cast.

Nicky on Monarch

Trace Adkins, Anna Friel and Susan Sarandon in the series premiere of Monarch airing in Fall 2022 on FOX

Photo by FOX via Getty Images

On Monarch, Friel plays the heir to the country music throne, following in her famous mother's footsteps. Nicolette 'Nicky' Roman is battling being in her 40s while trying to earn her country crown after years of being in her mother Dottie's shadow. Her younger sister Gigi proves to be an obstacle to her rise to the top as she, too, would like all the glory. Despite her British origins, you'd never know it hearing Friel speak on the series. She sounds exactly like a woman with Texas roots who was raised on good old-fashioned country music. From her dad's love of outlaw country to covers of current pop hits, we'll no doubt see some amazing performances across genres from Friel on the new series.

The show is jam-packed with drama, from family arguments to career obstacles and life-altering crimes. But Nicky looks like she'll do whatever it takes to get to where she wants to be.


"The deep root of her is insecurity, and the massive pressure of having to continue a legacy that she doesn't quite understand," Friel explained in an interview with New York Times.

"She's always been told as a kid that that's what she has to do. Now she has the pressures of being a mother, and not feeling like she's good enough, and she's torn between continuing the legacy and her own wants of stardom and success. It all tears a little bit."

READ MORE: 'Monarch': Trace Adkins and Susan Sarandon's Country Music Drama Announces Exciting Guest Stars

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